Administrative law in Florida includes the legal principles and regulations that govern the operations and decision-making of administrative agencies within the state. Administrative agencies are governmental bodies created by the legislature to implement and enforce specific laws and regulations.
Florida has numerous administrative agencies at the state and local levels, responsible for a wide range of functions. These agencies include the Florida Department of Health, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Education, and many others. Each agency has its own specific mandate and areas of regulatory authority.
Administrative agencies in Florida have the authority to promulgate rules and regulations. The rulemaking process involves issuing proposed rules, soliciting public input and comments, and finalizing rules that have the force of law. Rulemaking allows agencies to fill in the details and provide specific guidance for implementing statutes passed by the legislature.
Licensing and Permits
Many administrative agencies in Florida are responsible for issuing licenses, permits, and certifications. For example, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation grants professional licenses to individuals in various fields, such as medicine, law, real estate, and cosmetology. These licenses often have specific requirements and must be renewed periodically.
Administrative agencies in Florida conduct hearings to adjudicate disputes and resolve legal issues within their jurisdiction. These hearings follow administrative procedures and are overseen by administrative law judges (ALJs) who are appointed by the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH). Parties involved in a dispute may present evidence, call witnesses, and make arguments before the ALJ.
Decisions made by administrative agencies in Florida can be subject to judicial review. If a party is aggrieved by an agency decision, they may seek review in the Florida District Courts of Appeal. The courts review whether the agency acted within its authority, followed proper procedures, and reached a reasonable and lawful decision based on the evidence presented.
Public Records and Open Meetings
Florida has laws that ensure transparency and public access to administrative agency proceedings. The Florida Sunshine Law requires that administrative agency meetings be open to the public, with limited exceptions. Additionally, the Florida Public Records Act grants individuals the right to access public records held by administrative agencies, subject to certain exemptions.
Administrative Procedure Act (APA)
The Florida Administrative Procedure Act establishes the general procedures and requirements that administrative agencies must follow. It sets out rules for rulemaking, contested case hearings, public participation, and other administrative processes. The APA ensures fairness, due process, and consistency in agency actions.